Ekova,
Soft Breeze & Tsunami Breaks
(Six Degrees, 2000)

I will start by saying that I have not been a big fan of most remix albums. Ekova's Soft Breeze & Tsunami Breaks is one exception. Ekova enlisted some of Europe's leading people from the electronica music scene to recreate the songs from their wonderful debut CD, Heaven's Dust.

Describing Ekova's music can be difficult. The influences are a combination of African, Middle Eastern and Celtic music. While this trio is French based, it features the intriguing vocals of American-born Deirdre Dubois. Her "singing without words," a style where she combines syllables to create her own language. It's also a vocal style similar to Lisa Gerrard and Dead Can Dance. It's other two members include Iranian percussionist Arach Khalatbari and Algerian-born Mehdi Habbad who plays oud, guembri, cello and kalimba.

Since these songs started out acoustic, the remixed versions take on a quite eclectic and pleasing sound. "Starlight In Daden" has a flamenco Middle Eastern sound. It along with "Temoine" feature some of Deirdre's best vocals. She proves that you don't need lyrics to create passionate vocals in music. The traditional Irish song "In My Prime" comes across with a Middle Eastern and Celtic sound and features the CD's only recognizable lyrics.

With the increasing popularity of world music, Ekova has proven they can blend different styles of music with excellent results.

[ by Dave Townsend ]



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